• Syllabus

    Updated: February 24, 2015.

    This syllabus is not final.  The full class, with policies, readings, and other material, will be available to enrolled students on the class Blackboard site.

    Dr. Dru Pagliassotti
    Professor Terry Spehar-Fahey

    Classroom: F-1
    Class Hours:  W 4-5:50
    Office Hours: See Blackboard
    Office:  Pagliassotti: Swenson 203, Spehar-Fahey: F-1A
    Optional Art/Language Open Studio: Friday, F1 2-5

    Course Description:

    Students will acquire background knowledge of Venetian history, geography, demography, culture, and politics with special attention to how Venice has operated as a significant symbol — of an untouchable republic, of a militant mercantile nation, of a corrupt political system, of a decadently sexual culture, and of a dying empire — within various cultural media and artifacts of the Western world.

    This course will satisfy the Core 21 requirement for 1 unit of participatory visual & performing arts for students who complete the post-travel portion of the course.

    Student Learning Objectives:

    •           Creative and Critical Thinking: Students will engage in sketching, watercolor painting, photography, video (optional), digital art (optional), and creative writing while in Venice, producing art and fiction relevant to the symbolism of the city and its history. They will learn how to perform semiotic analysis and understand the ways in which a real place can be discursively transformed into a symbol with multiple meanings.

    •           Written Communication:  Students will write informative essays and an analytic book report for ImaginingVenice.Com and a number of reflective essays for their trip journals. They will demonstrate awareness of and adaptation to communicative context, use appropriate and compelling content to present or explore ideas to differing types of audiences, and demonstrate their mastery of linguistic syntax and mechanics.

    •           Visual Communication & Literacy: Students will learn how to represent their ideas visually through watercolor painting and photography and will learn how to read, decipher, and encode images both on a mechanical and symbolic level.

    •           Cross-Cultural Competency:  Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of the history and culture of Venice, especially as it has acted as a symbol influencing social, political, and artistic development in Italy, the UK, and the U.S. They will live and travel within the city for an extended period of time, getting to know it better than would be possible on a whirlwind tour of an entire country.

    Class Policies

    Amount of Work Expected: A college semester unit is defined as one lecture hour of class plus two hours of study per week per semester.  The preparatory phase of this travel course is equivalent to two units, so you should assume a class obligation of two lecture hours plus four hours of homework (reading, writing, viewing, painting, preparing reports) per week.

    The travel phase/post-travel phase of this course is equivalent to two units, which will include time spent on organized field trips, on homework, on after-dinner discussion of assignments, and on the final journal/portfolio and presentation to be turned in for grading.

    Absences: Attendance is mandatory.

    Make-Up Exams & Presentations: To make up the midterm, you must bring valid and verifiable proof of the cause of absence. Acceptable reasons for making up the midterm include emergency hospitalization, disaster (e.g., wildfires that require evacuation or block your route to class), or an illness too serious for class attendance.  No non-verified excuses are acceptable.

    The following are not acceptable reasons to make up the midterm:  I was late from the airport; I had to drive someone to/from the airport; my family was visiting; I was in jail; I was at a funeral; I was caught in traffic; I didn’t get back from vacation on time; I had to leave for vacation early; my computer broke down; the printer in the library doesn’t work; etc. All of these are either a matter of choice or lack of preparation.

    The final and presentation must be given at the designated days and times and cannot be made up.

    Extra Credit:  The instructors reserve the right to provide extra credit opportunities to the class as a whole as desired. No extra credit opportunities are guaranteed in any given semester.

    Disclaimer:  This syllabus is not a binding contract and may be subject to change after class notification.

    PRE-TRAVEL PHASE (4 units in the semester with an in-progress grade given until completion of the presentation)

    Required Texts:

    Venetian Hunts & Puzzles ($25) — Save Venice — to be taken on trip
    Selected readings provided in Blackboard.
    On library reserve: The History of Venice in Painting

    Required Material:

    Students will be required to purchase some art material for this course, including a travel watercolor set to be taken on the trip.



    Essential Italian phrases and grammar will be taught at the beginning of each lecture.

    Week 1. Venice the Free:
    Assigned Reading:
    •           Venice from the Ground Up, James H. S. McGregor — Chap. 1: The Lagoon
    Extra Reading:
    •           Semiotics for Beginners: Chapters 2 “Signs” and Chapter 7 “Denotation, Connotation & Myth”
    •           “Venice” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    •           Blog topics assigned

    Week 2. Venice the Mercantile:
    Assigned Reading:
    •          The Merchant of Venice: Act III
    •          The Jews of Early Modern Venice — Chapter 1: The Venetian Government and the Jews, by Benjamin Ravid
    Extra Reading:
    •          Browse The Stones of Venice by Ruskin
    •           Choose novel about Venice for book report

    Week 3. Venice the Militant:
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Men of Empire: Power and Negotiation in Venice’s Maritime State, by Monique O’Connell — Chap. 1: The Shape of Empire
    •          Extra credit: Make a Carnevale mask

    Week 4. Venice the Masked
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Historie de ma vie by Casanova: Vol 10: Under the Leads
    •           Venice from the Ground Up, James H. S. McGregor — Chap. 8: The Streets of Venice

    Week 5. Venice the Libertine:
    Assigned Reading:

    •          Historie de ma vie by Casanova: Vol 8: Convent Affairs
    •          “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, Canto the Fourth,” by Lord Byron

    Week 6. Venice the Decadent:
    Assigned Reading:
    •           A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich: Chapter 46: The Fall [1789-1797]
    •          Venice Rediscovered by John Pemble: Chapter 6: Time’s Ruin
    Extra Reading:
    •          “On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic,” by William Wordsworth

     Week 7. Midterm

     Week 8. Venice in Art I (Turner):
    Assigned Reading:
    •          The Art of Designing Watercolors, by Robert Lovett — Excerpt
    •          Create 2 watercolors

    Week 9. Venice in Art II (Sargent):
    Assigned Reading:
    •           Sargent
    •           A Paradise of Cities by John Julius Norwich: Chapter 11: Whistler and Sargent
    •          Create 2 watercolors

    Week 10. Venice in Art III (Photography):
    Assigned Reading:

    Week 11. Venice in Art IV (Photo to Painting):
    Assigned Reading:
    •          None
    •          Create 1 watercolor

    Week 12. Venice Appropriated I:
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Venice, Fragile City: 1797-1997, by Margaret Plant — Chapter tba
    •          Book report due. Post to blog and be prepared to give a brief oral summary of your report in class.

    Week 13. Venice Appropriated II:
    Assigned Reading:
    •          “Another Venice” by Samuele Constantini, “City of Falling Angels” by John Berendt
    •          Watercolor painting portfolio due (6 paintings)

    Week 14. Venice Commodified:
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Venice, the Tourist Maze: A Cultural Critique of the World’s Most Touristed City, by Robert C. Davis and Garry R. Marvin: Chapter 11: Taking it All Home
    •          Venice Against the Sea by John Keahey: Chapter 13: Will Venice Survive?
    Extra Reading:
    •          History of Venice, California
    •          History of The Venetian in Las Vegas

    Week 15. Venice the Dying:
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Venice Against the Sea by John Keahey: Chapter 4: Tides, Winds, and Global Warming & Chapter 5: Acqua Alta
    •          Celestial Venice by Moebius
    Extra Reading:
    •          “Ode on Venice” by Lord Byron

    Final: TBD